The International Olympic Committee has rejected a proposal to include a 3,000-meter run for women in the 1980 Games. The decision means that the 1,500 meters, introduced at the 1972 Olympics, remains the longest event for female runners, while men will continue to compete in not only the 1,500 but also the 5,000, 10,000 and the marathon. According to an IOC insider, one reason for the ruling was the fear that the 3,000 was "a little too strenuous" for women.
The argument blithely ignores the fact that women runners are competing in growing numbers—and without apparent ill effect—at distances up to and including marathons. The IOC action has been greeted with outrage by, among others, Dr. Joan Ullyot, a San Francisco physiologist who is one of the top U.S. marathoners. "I'm appalled and disgusted," she says. "The IOC is made up of old guys 50 years and maybe 50 miles behind the times."
Ullyot, who runs up to 80 miles a week, subscribes to the view that, if anything, women have "greater potential" for distance running than men. "A woman is lighter than a man, usually, and therefore her motor, the heart, is comparatively larger than his. She has more driving force. She has less muscle bulk to carry. Her body burns fat better. Notice how women do much better than men, relatively, in their first marathons."
In refusing to add a women's 3,000, the IOC was also keeping the Games from getting more unwieldy—or so another argument runs. Nevertheless, the 87-man (and zero-woman) IOC restored one event for the Moscow Games that was not on the Montreal program: the 50-kilometer walk for men.
THE EXCEPTIONS DISPROVE THE RULE
For all his gifts as a hitter, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Steve Garvey apparently is not much on spotting what economists call leading indicators. There Garvey was the other day, battling teammate Ron Cey and Cincinnati's George Foster for the National League RBI lead and telling a reporter, "I'd love to lead the league in RBIs. If I do that, or if Ron Cey or any other Dodger does, then our chances of winning it all are that much better. The RBI leader generally plays for the pennant winner."
Garvey's Rule applied well enough last season when Foster won the RBI title with 121 and the Reds took the pennant. Otherwise, you can pretty much forget it. During the past two decades only 11 of the 40 RBI leaders in the two leagues played for pennant winners. The single-season record for RBIs is held by the Chicago Cubs' Hack Wilson, who drove in 190 runs in 1930. The Cubs finished second, two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Two years have passed since three top golfers were struck by lightning during the Western Open. Up to the time they were hospitalized on June 27, 1975, Lee Trevino, Jerry Heard and Bobby Nichols had won a combined total of 34 major tournaments. Since then they have won a grand total of one—Trevino's victory last year in the Colonial. All three have been in severe slumps.